Our fondness for Cooler Master's full tower computer cases began roughly three years ago when we reviewed the HAF 932. Its stylish, aggressive design was backed by an excellent build quality. The affordable price tag was the icing on the cake for us. At the time, it was easily the ultimate tower case and that opinion remains strong today. The HAF 932 Advanced and HAF X are among the finest full tower chassis money can buy at $150-$200.
Cooler Master has also released various cases under its "Storm" banner, a subsidiary tasked with "arming the gaming revolution." Naturally, this duty is fulfilled by developing new keyboards, mice, cases, mouse pads and audio gear for gamers. To date, the brand has released a strong lineup of mid-sized ATX cases, including the Sniper, Scout and Enforcer. We featured the Enforcer in our recent roundup and found it to be an excellent value at only $85.
Cooler Master is at it again, releasing yet another gaming-oriented chassis and the first full size model in the Storm lineup. Called the "Trooper," it's priced at $190 -- right alongside the venerable HAF X -- packing several new features: 90-degree rotatable 4-in-3 HDD modules, an easy-to-carry handle, a hidden toolbox to store private goods, a built-in fan controller, an external 2.5" storage drive X-dock and the ability to support up to 14 internal hard drives.
It's been a year since the HAF X's arrival, and Cooler Master may have already outdone itself...
The Storm Trooper's design isn't as flashy as some competing gaming cases try to be (Thermaltake's offerings come to mind), but it's not as spartan as Lian Li's products either. Cooler Master seems to have a knack for producing aggressive, yet clean cases. The Trooper is dressed in strict conservative attire, but it's not afraid to show a little leg, if you will.
The Trooper's size is fairly typical for a full tower ATX case, measuring 9.8" wide, 22.8" long and 23.8" tall (25 x 57.8 x 60.6cm). It's constructed from SECC (Steel, Electrogalvanized, Cold-rolled, Coil), a type of metal known for its low cost and high thermal conduction properties making it ideal for computer cases. There's also plenty of plastic used, but it's blended well with metal, so don't let that scare you off.
Front on, the Trooper looks astonishing, be sure to check out the pictures for the different angles. The face carries nine metal mesh 5.25" drive bay plates and one 3.5" adapter. There are also two front-mounted 120mm fans that hide behind six of the nine 5.25" mesh plates.
Below the 5.25" bays is a hidden toolbox that can be accessed by removing the CM Storm-branded module. There's a pair of quick release clips on either side which must be pressed in to remove the panel. Once removed, the hidden toolbox slides out.
Directly above the 5.25" drive bays we find the external 2.5" HDD/SSD X-dock. This is similar to Thermaltake's BlacX Docking Station utilized by the recently reviewed Chaser MK-1, though that particular design supported both 3.5" and 2.5" drives. Still, we welcome the convenient access to 2.5" devices.
Above the X-dock is the Trooper's front I/O panel, which features two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports along with a single eSATA connector and two audio jacks. There are also two red LEDs that indicate hard drive activity and power. The power switch is the large button with the CM Storm logo at the very top of the I/O panel while the reset button is much smaller and off to the right.
Integrated into the power button area are three red light indicators that light up when the red LEDs on the case fans are active. Directly below the middle light is a small button that enables and disables the lights. Either side of this button the user will find another two buttons with plus and minus symbols that increase or decrease the internal fan speeds.
The top of the Trooper looks as impressive as the rest of the case and is again very functional. Behind the front panel is a rubber handle that should make it a bit easier to transport the 30.2lbs (13.7kgs) enclosure (that's before adding components, mind you). Along with the handle is a large amount of ventilation for the top-mounted 200mm fan that also features its own removable dust filter.
Moving around to the left side, the case door has yet another grill with support for a pair of optional 120mm fans. Although this door doesn't have a window, we're satisfied with the extra ventilation.
The opposite case door features the same indentation and a smaller grill.
Moving around to the rear of the Trooper, you'll find a simple setup that mounts the power supply at the bottom of the case. Above the power supply bracket are nine expansion slots and a 140mm exhaust fan.
At the very top, we have some inlet and outlet holes for water-cooling tubes. There is a tenth expansion slot mounted vertically, which could be used for an expansion bracket with USB ports or some other connectivity.
That pretty much covers the CM Storm Trooper's external features, so let's move inside for a closer look...